House votes to let aides unionize, bargain collectively

May 10, 2022, 6:17 AM | Updated: 6:23 pm
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., followed by Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., Rep. Barbara Lee, D...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., followed by Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and other members of the Congressional delegation that recently visited Ukraine, walk out of the West Wing of the White House to speak to reporters following a meeting with President Joe Biden, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House approved a resolution Tuesday that will pave the way for letting congressional staff join a union and engage in collective bargaining, a move that proponents say would enhance the ability of aides from low-and-middle-income families to make ends meet in a region with steep housing costs.

Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., sponsored the resolution. He said that if workers have more of a say about working conditions and pay, it will lead to lower turnover and make Congress a more effective institution. He also called the ability to unionize an equity issue since many people can’t afford to consider a job in Washington because the cost of housing is so great.

“You don’t want only children of the privileged to be able to work here because somehow their family can support them,” Levin said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also addressed the pay issue by recently setting a minimum annual pay for House staff at $45,000. The median salary for staff working for an individual lawmaker was $50,000 last year, according to the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“By empowering staffers to advocate for themselves and each other, we take an important step to ensure the House is best able to serve the American people,” Pelosi said.

Lawmakers set the pay for their aides. The money comes from an allowance made available to each member to cover rent, equipment, salary and other expenses incurred in performing their official duties.

Collective bargaining would take place at the employing office level, which means that it will be done separately between members and House committees and their staffs. There will not be one bargaining unit covering most or all House employees.

Congress passed a 1996 law that greenlighted other employees on Capitol Hill to unionize, including the U.S. Capitol Police, the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol. The vote Tuesday will allow a board to issue regulations to establish the rights of congressional staff to collectively bargain. The resolution applies only to House offices.

Republicans are largely opposed to the measure. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said he doubts many staffs in GOP offices would opt to unionize, calling it unnecessary.

The House voted to pass the resolution as part of a measure establishing rules for debate on aid to Ukraine. He said that Democrats’ unwillingness to put the resolution on the floor and be voted on separately and based on its own merits suggest that not all Democrats were on board.

“This just seems to me more symbolic than substantive,” Cole said.

A group called the Congressional Workers Union tweeted after the vote that it was a historic moment for thousands of staffers.

“For 26 years, Congress has had the opportunity to pass this resolution but has failed to act, until our collective demands were too loud for them to ignore,” the group said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Foreign Minister of Sweden Ann Christin Linde addresses the 77th session of the United Nations Gene...
Associated Press

UN meeting produces sense that a ‘new epoch’ is arriving

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The war in Ukraine and its global fallout transfixed the meeting of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly this year. When it wasn’t out front, it lurked in the background of virtually every speech. There were near-unanimous calls for an end to the seven-month war, with rich and poor countries […]
21 hours ago
Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa Al-Kadhimi addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General ...
Associated Press

At UN, a fleeting opportunity to tell their nations’ stories

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Pakistan’s new prime minister stepped onto the U.N. podium and faced world leaders, ready to spin a tale of floods and climate change and more than 33 million people at risk. Shahbaz Sharif began: “As I stand here today to tell the story of my country …” At its core, that […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: September 27, Taliban take power

Today in History Today is Tuesday, Sept. 27, the 270th day of 2022. There are 95 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Sept. 27, 1996, in Afghanistan, the Taliban, a band of former seminary students, drove the government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani out of Kabul, captured the capital and executed former […]
21 hours ago
Relatives and classmates of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa college students and their supporters march i...
Associated Press

Families of Mexico’s missing students march on anniversary

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Carrying photographs of their children at their chests, relatives of the 43 students who disappeared in southern Mexico in 2014 marched Monday on the eighth anniversary of their abductions with conflicting sentiments. On one hand, the government appeared to be advancing, but on the other they saw “internal wars” in an […]
21 hours ago
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks at a press conference in Tokyo Tuesday, Sep...
Associated Press

Japan protests Russia’s expulsion of official, denies spying

TOKYO (AP) — Japan protested to Russia on Tuesday over the detention of a Japanese consulate official on espionage allegations, denying the allegations and accusing Russian authorities of abusive interrogation. The official was detained on Sept. 22 and interrogated with his eyes covered, his hands and head pressed and immobilized, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said, prompting […]
21 hours ago
Artists work on a mural outside the United Nation Headquarters, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in New York...
Associated Press

UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders, by the numbers

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The barricades are down, the world leaders have left and New Yorkers are complaining slightly less about traffic: The gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly is over. Here, we break down the stats for you: U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSIONS: 77 The first U.N. General Assembly was convened in […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
House votes to let aides unionize, bargain collectively